To call on you readers

We have several who understand matters Scottish:

Following the deal in 2014, the Scottish Government loaned Ferguson Marine £45 million to help it diversify and the yard secured a £97 million contract the following year to build two Cal Mac ferries on behalf of the government agency, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL).

Mr McColl said that when the cost of the design for the complicated hybrid vessels went up the agency should have met the increased costs and quoted a similar case in Quebec, where a contract ran over budget and the government stepped in to help.

He said CMAL had instead “buried their heads in the sand”, telling the Mail on Sunday: “I got the Government to get everyone round the able over a year ago to repeat what happened in Quebec – to get in independent experts who understand marine engineering and naval architecture. They’ve totally refused to do that.

“It’s more frustrating that the Government has not stood up to CMAL, it’s a wholly owned government entity. They simple problem here is they need to pay the actual costs to get the ferries that they have asked Ferguson to build.”

How badly has the SNP screwed this up?

Bugger off Madam

The new IMF chief should not be chosen by Europe alone
Amanda Khozi Mukwashi
The financial institution has the power to tackle the climate crisis yet it excludes applicants from the global south

There’s a simple explanation.

It simply cannot be right that the leadership of the institutions with the greatest power to tackle the climate crisis excludes applicants from those countries where that crisis is wiping out the lives and livelihoods of many millions of people. The IMF aims to create sustainable growth and to reduce poverty in the world. How can it do so when it is run on fundamentally undemocratic principles?

It’s the democracy of money. North America and Europe pay the money into these institutions. Therefore they get to decide where the money goes.

Now bugger off.

It is time for all members of the IMF to stand together and vote against a model that mocks the principles and values that the same countries place above all else.

Sigh. Ignorant twat.

Frances Ryan finds welfare checks aren’t so bad

I was “lucky”. Unlike some, I didn’t have to skip meals because my disability benefits had been removed. I wasn’t forced to go through a lengthy and exhausting appeal. I wasn’t, like the late Stephen Smith, forced to discharge myself from hospital in order to attend the tribunal to fight my case. But it is surely a sign of a broken system when disabled people relying on Britain’s safety net are grateful if it catches them without too much pain.

Recipient of taxpayers’ cash interviewed by bureaucrat on verity of need for taxpayers’ cash.

Nothing else happens.

This is an outrage

One of you lot will know about this

The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has said Manchester should have an underground railway, as the cost of the delayed Crossrail project in London swelled to £17.6bn.

Burnham proposed a “Crossrail for Manchester-type scenario” where new railway lines would be built under central Manchester to help people get across the increasingly gridlocked city.

There is presumably some metric by which we can decide whether to tunnel or not. Whether to have a Tube or not.

What are they an does Manchester pass?

There’s cheeky then there’s arrogant

Councils have begun charging householders to dump waste at rubbish tips, it has emerged, leading the Government to launch a review into the arbitrary fees.

Some 47 local authorities now insist on payments including Buckinghamshire council, which released a new “price list” this month demanding up to £20 for items including boilers, taps, lavatory seats, fence posts, plasterboard, pond liners and wood burners.

Boilers, taps, wood burners. Nice pieces of metal most of those. Worth real money. Charging for accepting them goes beyond cheeky. The profit margin from having done so must be enormous. Assuming, obviously, that a council is switched on enough to have an agreement with the local gyppo scrappie.

Actually, we’ve got a couple of local councillors around here. What’s the profit centre looking like at the local town dump?

Sounds like an election winner

A Labour government would break up the Treasury and create a new devolved unit in the north of England, the shadow chancellor has said.

John McDonnell said the £250bn unit would be responsible for improving national infrastructure, including overhauling the north’s creaking transport system.

More money for chippy northerners.

Hmm, gosh, doesn’t Labour’s possibility of gaining power depend upon keeping their northern city fastnesses?

If Oxfam were a company it would be dying now

Oxfam abuse victims were sent back to war zones after raising complaints against aid workers, it was claimed in an official report exposing the scale of the scandal that engulfed the charity.

They’re not quite spelling it out here.

If someone complained of sexual abuse by Oxfam staff they would – OK, could – be plucked out of their refugee camp and sent back to what they had been fleeing.

That’s the sort of thing any – consumer facing at least – business wouldn’t survive. Markets having their uses in controlling producer behaviour

What bastards!

BBC pays experienced bid more than inexperienced.

In an email to staff, Allen said: “I regret that Karen has decided not to take this opportunity. I think it important to explain what has happened in this instance.

“As you know, we don’t have fixed rates for jobs. Instead we have pay ranges as agreed with our unions.

“In setting pay for this particular role we have taken the view that Roger and Karen would be doing roles of equal weight as Deputy Editors of the Radio Newsroom.

“We also took into account the fact that Roger has worked at or above this level for several years whereas Karen was offered this role as a promotion, with a significant pay increase.

“We think most people would understand that these factors would result in some difference between their individual pay.

That’s the entire NHS pay system entirely borked then, eh? What with annual increments ?

Well, why not?

A minister in Tony Blair’s government who resigned over an undeclared home loan to Peter Mandelson has condemned as “a lie” claims that he was a communist spy during the Cold War.

Geoffrey Robinson, a Labour MP since 1976, said the allegations that he had passed secrets to Czechoslovakia in the late 1960s were a “complete fabrication”.

Not that he was, of course, but if he was he wouldn’t have been the only one now, would he? No one who has ever even heard of the accounts of the Morning Star would think that.

Oh Dear Lord, are they serious?

HS2 should consider slowing the speed of its trains to save money or risk only completing half the line, peers have warned, as they called for a major rethink of the Government’s flagship transport project.


The only reason even the cooked and biased cost benefit analysis works is by having higher speed trains. Slow them down and there’s no point to the project at all.


Number of British paedophiles may be far higher than thought
National Crime Agency chief says new figure is seven times greater than earlier estimate

Gosh, how have they worked this out?

The number of Britons with a sexual interest in children may be seven times higher than previously thought, the head of the National Crime Agency has said.

Lynne Owens said the revelation came after investigators scoured through sites for paedophiles on the dark web, finding an estimated 144,000 accounts linked to British people.

Err, yes. Very accurate indeed. So what’s actually going on here?

She is calling for £2.7bn over three years to boost the fight against serious and organised crime.

Ah, bureaucracy calling for larger budget. Surprise!

Aren’t MPs just the cards?

MPs including a minister are boosting their expenses by claiming for adult children “dependent” upon them, The Telegraph can disclose.

Rules introduced in 2017 allow MPs to claim additional second home expenses of up to £5,400 per child.

The rule was originally intended to help MPs with children rent bigger homes but The Telegraph has discovered, following changes to the regulations, several are using the allowance to claim for adult children in their 20s.

Claire Perry, an energy minister who earns £111,148 a year, claimed £9,846 on top of her £22,760 standard allowance by citing her three children aged 17, 19 and 22. Ms Perry said: “All claims are made completely in accordance with the Ipsa…

Presumably HMRC would not look askance at a private sector worker gaining the same sort of expenses? They would be tax free would they?

Doesn’t sound right to me

Two hundred thousand oblivious savers are too late to avoid pension tax bills of up to 55pc, and at least a million more are sleepwalking into the same problem.

Telegraph Money has previously reported that front-line health, police, fire service and Armed Forces personnel are for the first time being penalised by lifetime limits on pension savings after successive governments cut the allowance from £1.8m to £1.03m.

Researchers have now calculated the number of savers affected. More than a million face losing hundreds of thousands of pounds from their savings when they retire.

Healthcare unions expect an exodus of senior staff from hospital wards and a decline in patient care if the Treasury…

I know GPs are being affected. But service salaries and pensions tend t#not to be high enough. For technical reasons just been looking through father’s RN Captain’s pension. Wouldn’t have been affected at all. Not with the usual way that a DB pension has its capital value calculated anyway.

Welcome to the gravy train

The next head of the country’s nature watchdog has been accused of being “prejudiced against the countryside” ahead of his formal appointment by the Government.

Tony Juniper – a veteran environmental campaigner and former Green Party candidate – is set to be made chairman of Natural England by the Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Hands up all happy to be paying Tony Juniper a salary?

But, but, services must be universal!

Middle class parents should lose their free nursery hours because the Government’s flagship policy is “entrenching inequality”, a select committee has said.

Under the policy, working parents who earn up to £100,000 between them are entitled to 30 hours of free childcare for three to four-year-olds, which is double the 15 hours they were previously entitled to.

The multi-billion pound taxpayer funded scheme, which came into force in September 2017, was aimed at encouraging parents to get back into work rather than getting put off by prohibitive childcare costs.

But MPs on the education select committee found that the policy has given a boost to affluent families while leading to “perverse” consequences…

We must all use the NHS because a service only for the poor will be bad. We must abolish private schools because only when the middle classes must use public education will their pressure raise standards.

Double standards, who’d have any without them?

It always was a terrible idea anyway

Theresa May’s deputy has warned that a proposed reduction in the number of trains running along High Speed 2 will “seriously undermine” the case for continuing with the project.

David Lidington has asked HS2 Ltd, the government-owned firm behind the scheme to set out the “current business case” for the £56 billion project, after The Sunday Telegraph revealed that the company had suggested it could cut the hourly number of trains by a fifth to prevent costs from spiraling out of control.

And the case for any infrastructure lies in the capacity utilisation…..

Who wouldn’t want a 20% pay rise?

Since I started teaching part-time, my Friday mornings have begun to look remarkably different. Rather than waking up at 5:30am as I do during the rest of the week, I roll out of bed at a leisurely hour and often start my day with a yoga class. After enjoying the luxury of breakfast at my kitchen table instead of a classroom desk, I spend the rest of the day planning my year 10 lessons for the following week. Occasionally, I treat myself by popping out to the post office or the bank. More often than not, I’m sending emails trying to secure writing commissions – now I am teaching part-time, I need to find other ways to top up my income.

This probably sounds appealing to most teachers, who have usually spent most of their Friday dreading that year 9 double lesson after lunch. And there’s no doubt that teaching part-time has kept me in the classroom; I was very close to becoming one of the 31% of teachers who leave the profession within their first five years of qualifying.

But there are two glaring issues with the Friday I have just described: first, I am still continuing to do school work even on my day off; and second, I’ve had to take a cut in my salary and seek out additional work to make up the difference.

You do less work and you get paid less. Hmm, shocker, eh?

Rather than the option of working part-time being available only to those who can afford it, what if all teachers everywhere were able to work a four-day week, and crucially, without a loss in pay?

Sounds good to me too. When are you going to start paying me five days’ pay for four days’ work?

A most interesting number

£334 billion net tax revenues for the government from the oil and gas sector
since 1970-71

Helps to explain why we didn’t put it all into a sovereign wealth fund as Norway did.

Simply not a large enough number in relation to UK public finances or economic size.

Yes, yes, obviously, that’s a non-inflation adjusted number, doesn’t include what might have been earned on any investment fund etc. But still. The Norwegians were at times getting 30% of GDP from the oil. The UK peaked at what, 3%? Summat like that.

National Association for the Promotion of Catastrophic Childcare

At least 250,000 children should be classed as victims of domestic abuse under government reforms due this month, says the NSPCC.

The charity says the Government’s current legal definition of domestic abuse fails to recognise the mental, emotional and social damage that children can suffer from domestic abuse in the family.

It says education department figures show domestic violence was a factor in the 246,720 cases last year where children were assessed to be in need of protection yet they had no legal guarantee that action would be taken because they were not classed as victims.

The NSPCC says provision is patchy with children in some areas not being treated for mental ill health or behaviour…

The activity of the NSPCC will lead to a quarter of a million more children being abused. They’re thus in the business of promoting child abuse, no? And yes, of course, they are. They’re a bureaucracy aiming to say alive, therefore their problem must be larger so that their bureaucracy is larger and safer. They thus definitively promote in the sense of changing definitions to create more abuse….

This surprises every sailor in the country, right?

The UK Border Force is risking collisions in the Channel, say experts, as it is claimed their vessels are acting in an “unseaman-like” manner by turning off tracking systems.

Merchant shipping operating on autopilot in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes often rely on the location devices as their “only means of anti-collision”.

The Border Force cutters operating off the Kent coast have potentially risked collision by failing to use the internationally-recognised Automatic Identification System (AIS), which alerts fellow seafarers and coastal authorities of their location, route and other safety-related information to aid safe passage at sea.

I hadn’t realised that the system allowed the immigration stasi to drive their own boats. Can’t help thinking that allowing the RN to do the seamanship bit might not be better. Or the water wing of the Girl Guides perhaps.